It was a union of two men that had millions in the UAE and India watching, when His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was personally received by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Delhi airport on Tuesday.
Invited to the country to be the chief guest at the 68th Republic Day celebrations on January 26, the arrival marked the beginning of the Crown Prince’s three-day visit to India.And as the two greeted each other with open arms and a warm hug, it signified the high importance India attaches to its ties with the UAE, a country in which Indian nationals make up the biggest demographic of expatriate residents – around 2.8 million.
Touching down with his accompanying delegation, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed was received at the airport by Modi and a number of senior government officials.Tuesday’s arrival in India marked Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed’s second visit to the country in less than a year (his most recent being in February 2016), and it was a visit he remarked as “very delightful”.
“I would like to seize this opportunity to convey the best wishes of the people and Government of the UAE to the Indian people and government on the occasion of 68th Republic Day. I thank the Indian people and their government for their warm welcome and I look forward to participating in Republic Day celebrations.”The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince will lead Thursday’s March in Delhi, and after being bestowed the honour of chief guest, he said: “I am filled with happiness as I share this historic occasion with Indian people”.
Ever since Modi made a historical visit to the UAE in August 2015, the UAE-India relations have been on the upswing.But the countries’ relationship extend long back to hundreds of years ago – a relationship which Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed made reference to.
“UAE-India relations enjoy a deep history that extends to hundreds of years before the founding of the UAE in 1971. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE, cemented this relationship when he made a historic visit to India in 1975, laying the founding stones of modern UAE-India relations. Today, the UAE, under the leadership of the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, treats our relationship with India as a priority and views India as a linchpin of stability in Asia and a major partner in the global efforts towards stability, development and the battle against terrorism.”
The UAE-India relations “transcend political and economic levels” as the two nations have always enjoyed cultural ties which linked the Indian people and those of the GCC, he said, especially the UAE, for centuries.”The Indian community has contributed massively to the development of the UAE and continues to do so. We are deeply thankful for their contributions to our nation,” he added.
“The fact that UAE-India relations have made it to this strategic level, is a testimony that this relationship is backed by a strong political will from both the nations. Therefore, I am confident that the upcoming period will witness a breakthrough in turning our strategic agreements into actionable programs that serve the interests of our two friendly nations,” he concluded.
The #social aspect of Sheikh Mohamed’s visit
As His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with open arms and a hug of solidarity on Tuesday, some members of the Indian ministry took to social media to capture the moment.
“Special gesture for special guest! PM @narendramodi receives H.H. Mohammad Bin Zayed The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of Shaikh Mohammed and Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Modi and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed will head bilateral delegation-level talks following which a number of agreements, including one on creation of an investment fund, are expected to be signed. The visiting dignitary will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee and have a meeting with Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
On Thursday, Sheikh Mohamed will attend the Republic Day parade as the chief guest and a contingent of the UAE Armed Forces will also march along with the Indian armed forces during the parade.